Effect of Alnus glutinosa on Hybrid Populus Height Growth in a Short-Rotation Intensively Cultured Plantation

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Populus height growth in a short-rotation intensively cultured Alnus/Populus mixture was affected by both the percentage of Alnus and the spacing between species. Regression analysis showed that height of 3-year-old Populus increased significantly with increasing Alnus in the mixture and decreased with increasing distance between Populus and Alnus. In an adjacent 2-year-old plantation of A. glutinosa, significant soil N accretion occurred adjacent to and at a distance of 15 cm from each alder stem in the upper 4 cm of soil. No significant accretion was detected at greater soil depths or greater distances from alder stems. Such a localized N accretion pattern in young plantations is consistent with findings that greatest Populus height growth occurred where Alnus rows were directly adjacent to Populus rows and where Alnus comprised at least 66 percent of the mix. Alnus had a significant effect on Populus growth by the end of the second year. Alnus height growth was considerably slower than Populus height growth, averaging 45 percent less at the end of 3 years. The mixtures containing higher percentages of Alnus had Populus heights comparable to those obtained from optimal rates of ammonium nitrate fertilization on a contiguous pure Populus plot. Forest Sci. 28:49-59.

Keywords: Leaf tissue nitrogen; mixed plantations; nitrogen fixation; soil nitrogen accretion

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Department of Forestry, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801

Publication date: March 1, 1982

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